What should I do next for hives?Skin, Hair & Nails
Thank you for your question. Urticaria (hives) is a outbreak of superficial skin swelling with surrounding redness. It is usually very itchy and can last from hours to days. Urticaria can be classified as acute (less than 6 weeks in duration) or chronic (more than 6 weeks in duration).
For acute urticaria, it can be triggered by a few factors:
- Food allergy
- Drug allergy
- Virus infection
- Bacteria infection
- Insect stings
The main treatment is with 2nd generation antihistamines (cetirizine/ loratadine/ telfast etc). You can continue to apply calamine lotion to the affected areas to help with the itch. Oral steriods can be used if you are not responding to antihistamines or if your condition is severe.
However you should consult a doctor to confirm the diagnosis first. All the best!
Urticaria or hives is a common condition that many people will experience at least once in their life. As Dr Wu has pointed out there many several causes of acute urticaria. These may not be just food allergies, and can include viral infections as well.
In most instances, after the acute episode, the urticaria will subside and you will not experience another episode for a long time. However, if you experience recurrent episodes of urticaria or chronic urticaria (>6weeks) then further blood tests or allergy tests may need to be performed.
If this is your first episode, you may take antihistamines (such as telfast and cetirizine which are easily available) to relief them. You should generally get relief quite rapidly. Antihistamines have good safety profile and minimal side effects.
Consider seeking medical advise if your urticaria is persistent or you get recurrent episodes.
The description of your rashes seems like hives. That being said, it is safer to consult a doctor to confirm the diagnosis of hives. If it is hives, both classes of oral medications: 1) anti-histamines such as cetirizine, telecast etc and 2) a short course of low dose oral prednisolone (steroid) should be prescribed by your doctor for quick and effective recovery.
Topical steroid medications will be ineffective. Calamine lotion can help with relieving itch but it does not help with controlling the underlying inflammatory response. If it is recurrent hives, you may want to consider allergy testing.
Dr David Deng
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